An opera on the maidenhood of Morgan le Fay
the story libretto by Sara Fetherolf
Morgan le Fay was put to school in a nunnery, and there she learned so much that she was a great clerk of necromancy.
—Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur
Morgan le Fay—sorceress, queen, and sometimes-antagonist to her half-brother, King Arthur—first appears in the stories of the Round Table as a bride, wed to a loyal petty king to help Arthur secure the throne. Her personal history remains a cipher—we are told only that Morgan learned necromancy during her girlhood in a nunnery.
Meidelant scries into this enigmatic backstory, following Morgan through her final days in the nunnery, as she learns to heal and to divine the future, falters through a first romance, and comes to terms with leaving the only home she has ever known.
By spinning a complex history for Morgan le Fay, Meidelant also reimagines a pocket of the past that has been erased by those who wrote down the legends: a place where convents are covens; where nuns create a secret space outside of patriarchal monarchy; and where queer and ungovernable maidens sing to one another about fey realms that are lost, hidden, or just out of reach.
- synopsis by Sara Fetherolf
the music by Tamzin
In Meidelant, all of the sung music is written to be a part of the real lives of the characters - for example, the first song of the opera is sung by two nuns entertaining themselves while processing wool into thread. Singing is woven into the daily lives of these nuns, blurring the lines between songs that are magical and those which are simply songs.
The music of Meidelant combines Tamzin’s knowledge of early European music and notational techniques with their experience learning traditional Georgian polyphony and electronic production. The ensemble is comprised of triple harp, cláirseach, viola da gamba, vielle, recorder, portative organ, bagpipes, bowed psaltery, and electronics. The score is an experimental combination of early mensural notation and aleatoric notation methods.
L. A. Camerata is a non-profit early music ensemble who’s mission is to raise voices of women and other marginalized composers. Because of their emphasis on blurring the line between musical and theatrical performance in such performances as Francesca Caccini's La liberazione di Ruggiero (1625), collaborating on and developing Meidelant has been an incredible match of artistic intention.